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Mount Sinai’s Research Arm Using Data Analytics to Address Health Inequities

October 25, 2016
by Heather Landi
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The Arnhold Institute for Global Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is partnering with satellite imaging and data analytics company DigitalGlobe to create the Health Equity Atlas Initiative (ATLAS), a platform that standardizes and maps population data in order to generate insights that address health inequities.

According to Prabhjot Singh, M.D., Ph.D., director, The Arnhold Institute for Global Health, and chair, Department of Health System Design and Global Health, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the goal of the partnership is to address structural inequities affecting healthcare delivery and response to vulnerable populations. The platform is now being tested in active Arnhold Institute projects in Ghana, Guatemala, and New York City. 

“Whether we’re talking about the Zika virus epidemic in the Americas and Caribbean, an outbreak of Ebola virus disease in a rural West African community, or chronic conditions like asthma or diabetes in East Harlem, information gaps exacerbate vulnerabilities to health crises, potentially transforming blind spots to hot spots,” Singh said.

ATLAS highlights blind spots in demographic and health information by analyzing inputs from frontline health workers and high-accuracy, high-resolution satellite images from DigitalGlobe, according to a press release. While the data engine can house existing demographic health surveys and infrastructure assessments, it is optimized for communities where information sources are out of date or absent.

DigitalGlobe operates commercial earth imaging satellites, which collect more than 3 million square kilometers of Earth imagery daily. Leveraging cloud computing and machine learning algorithms, DigitalGlobe's Geospatial Big Data platform, GBDX, streamlines data processing and analytics to extract useful information from the imagery-at scale.

Working with the imaging and data analytics vendor, Arnhold Institute researchers will be able to understand where the most vulnerable communities are, how to reach them, and what interventions are working, according to the press release.

Other technology companies working with The Arnhold Institute in developing the Health Equity Atlas include software company Dimagi and Medic Mobile, a mobile health company.


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